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The examination of water for typhoid fever bacteria is too difficult and unsatisfactory for routine work. Reports will be made upon the existence of sewage pollution emanating from man or animal.
A. R. WARD, Director.
ADULTERATED BL'TTER. The following report has been received from Prof. M. E. Jaffa, Food Laboratory, State University, Berkeley:
We had a sample of so-called butter sent to us, which was made hy taking a pound of butter and a pint of milk and adding thereto some compound, with the idea that there would result two pounds of butter. The analysis of the material, as received, is as follows:
44.56 Casein, etc.
A good butter contains about 8.5 per cent fat. In two pounds of butter there should be about 27 ounces of fat, while the fat-content of two pounds of the material, similar in composition to the above, would be less than 16 ounces, so it can immediately be seen the difference in the nutritive value alone between good butter and the material given us for examination.
The University can not authorize or sanction the manufacture of such a mess, “which is neither good butter nor poor cheese."
Butter fat can not be made in any such manner by such nostrums, and the manufacture of the so-called butter in such a manner is a rank fraud, and should be so treated.
EXAMINE WATER SUPPLY IN TYPHOID CASES. The health officers and physicians of the State are earnestly requested, whenever typhoid fever appears, to send to the State Hygienic Laboratory at Berkeley for a container, and to have the water supply examined. While other ways for the spread of this disease are recognized, such as flies, insects, personal contact, dust, etc., still water is doubtless the great carrier. Even if the milk supply is at fault, the infection generally gets to the milk through the water. Examinations are made free of charge, and by finding the source of the disease it is frequently possible to prevent an epidemic.
PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION.
The California Public Health Association held its semi-annual session in San Francisco on October 28th. Dr. Edward von Adelung of Oakland, President of the Association, cordially greeted the members and referred to the magnificent work being done in America in the prevention of disease, and to the importance of such an association.
The first paper, on “Sanitation of Stanford,” by Dr. W. F. Snow of Palo Alto, was one of extreme interest and value. He explained, with the aid of maps, the surrounding watersheds, the sources of water supply, drainage and sewage disposal, location of dairies, and the various sources of pollution to which the streams are liable. The geological formation had also been studied so that the source of water supply in each location was known. He outlined the ideal office, and clearly showed the great utility of an active, wideawake health department. It is not always that an epidemic leads to such good results. The price may have been big, but Stanford will never have another epidemic of typhoid while the present organization exists, and the rest of the State will learn much from its experience and present system.
The discussion of “Contamination of Water Supplies” was opened by a paper by Dr. N. K. Foster of Sacramento. The discussion, which was participated in by many of the members, was instructive and interesting. It brought out the fact of the contamination of our streams, reservoirs, and wells, and the great danger to which the people are exposed. The question was considered of such importance that at the April meeting more time will be given it, so that it can be discussed in all its phases and especially as to means of prevention.
Dr. H. S. Cumming, Passed Assistant Surgeon U. S. Public Health and Marine Hospital Service, gave an interesting and instructive talk on the “Control of Contagious and Infectious Diseases of Aliens arriving in San Francisco." The subject was clearly and forcibly handled and every one was convinced that it would be difficult for any contagious disease to get by the San Francisco inspection.
“Undrawn Fish and Poultry” was the subject of a paper by Dr. F. G. Fay of Sacramento. A synopsis thereof is printed in another article.
The interest shown in the meeting was extremely gratifying, and the papers and discussion showed deep thought and preparation. The attendance, while not large, was in earnest, and much good will result. The State is large and most health officers get but small pay and can not afford the expense of the trip. The advantages to be gained by association and by discussion of sanitary questions are beyond estimate, and every health officer should have the benefit of them, and it would be in the interest of the people if the Legislature should pass a law requiring each health officer to attend, his necessary expenses being paid by the county or municipality served.
DANGER IN UNDRAWN COLD-STORAGE POULTRY. The question of the healthfulness of poultry that is not drawn at the time of slaughter is of particular interest at this season, and the paper on “Undrawn Fowls and Fish” by Dr. Fay of Sacramento, read at the last meeting of the California Health Association, is timely.
The doctor showed that fowls are killed, sometimes without bleeding, "picked” while dying, and frozen without removing the entrails. He declared that sometimes they are starved for twenty-four hours to clean them of excrement, but frequently are killed with full crops; that decomposition of organic matter begins at once when such matter is deprived of life; that freezing does not entirely stop decomposition, and that when thawing begins the decomposition is very active. The fowls are taken from cold-storage and exposed for sale, the frost being either wholly or partially removed. Many hours elapse from the thawing to the table—a time active in decomposition. He quotes from Bulletin No. 144, U. S. Department of Agriculture, as follows:
The presence of undigested food and of excrementitious substances in animals which have been killed most certainly favors the tainting of the flesh and general decomposition. The viscera are the first parts to show putrescence, and allowing these to remain within the body can not otherwise than favor infection of the flesh with bacteria and ptomaines.
F. F. Cassady, in “The Dietetic and Hygienic Gazette,” says:
The fowl is killed, transported long distances, and kept in a cold-storage warehouse for days and weeks, before being eaten. In the meantime the ptomaines developed in the mass of excrementitious material in the fowl's entrails have infiltrated the entire fleshy portion of the specimen, and made the bird a mass of putrescent, decaying flesh and a deadly poison to the person who eats it. It is just as reasonable for the consumer to buy lambs and calves, intestines included, as to pay for the entrails of chickens and turkeys. As long as the public are willing to put up with such impositions and filthy practices they will exist. In my opinion many hundreds of cases of deaths by poisoning can be traced to ptomaines in the manner indicated, and persons have undoubtedly been wrongfully accused of administering poisons to others, when as a matter of fact the true cause of death was ptomaines. Ptomaine poisoning frequently resembles strychnine poisoning in the severity of its onset and course, and the picture presented in such cases may well deceive even trained observers, especially in the absence of examination for other poisons. The preservation of undrawn poultry in cold storage for food is filthy, unsanitary, and a menace to public health.
The holiday season is upon us, and we will have fowls of this kind offered us and will no doubt partake, and as a result we will have the usual number of holiday cases of indigestion, varying in degree from a severe cramp to the cholera-like trouble which kills.
Watch well the fowls you buy and take none that have been frozen with entrails unremoved.
A crusade for pure milk is going on throughout the State, and every one must wish it godspeed. With tuberculosis present in the herds, the dairy building filthy, the milkers oftentimes dirty and diseased, the milk in the cans when being distributed exposed to the dust in the atmosphere, and dangerous quantities of preservatives sometimes in the milk, there is certainly great need for such a crusade. None of these conditions should exist, and the public agitation will, in a measure, lessen them. Milk is a necessary article of diet, and should be furnished pure. It can be, but it depends in no small degree upon the consumer. The producing and selling of milk are commercial, as much as that of flour or cloth, and are governed by the same laws. If one demands a good article he must pay for it. Cheap flour will be made from cheap or dirty wheat, and cheap milk will be supplied from poor cows kept in cheap and unsanitary surroundings and it will be served in dirty containers. To have the corrals clean, the milking-shed whitewashed and free from dust and dirt, the milkers dressed in freshly washed suits, the containers cleaned with steam, and the milk-house free from flies and odors requires an outlay of money for which the owner must get a return. His milk costs more to produce, and therefore he must get a better price. Consumers too often demand cheap milk, and, getting it, find fault that it is poor and soon spoils. This forces the producer to the use of preservatives to keep the cheap milk sweet-a proceeding entirely unnecessary if the milk has been kept clean. If consumers demand good milk they can get it, but it will cost more money.
In every city can be found some dairyman who will be willing to furnish pure and clean milk for a reasonable advance in price. The Oakland Home Club is getting such a milk, the dairyman agreeing to conform to the requirement of the Club, which are those recommended by the United States Bureau of Animal Industry. The dairy is inspected and the cows tested as often as necessary, and an examination of the milk is made frequently. The limit of bacteria is placed at 10,000, but has never come above 3,000, while the ordinary dairyman's milk often goes to 500,000 or 1,000,000. This is the difference between pure milk, which is a nourishing food, and a filthy solution, which is the cause of much of the indigestion and malnutrition in children.
Laws will always be necessary to protect the public against themselves and unscrupulous producers, and should be strictly enforced; but a recognition by the consumers that pure milk is worth more than impure is also necessary.
The care of milk at the home is also an important factor. The milkpan is sometimes the last dish washed, and, without scalding, is wiped upon a towel that has done service for all the other dishes, and, the milk having been poured in, it is set where flies can take a drink, and even mice occasionally refresh themselves from it. The careless maid may also leave it on the table or shelf while she sweeps the floor, and it catches the dust filled with all kinds of unmentionabļe filth. The pan should be thoroughly washed with soap and warm water and scalded with boiling water and dried with a clean towel. After receiving the milk, one should protect it from the contaminating influence of animals, insects, or dirt, for the dirt allowed to enter after the milk has been received at the house is as bad as that entering it before. Buy pure, clean milk, and keep it clean, and much sickness of children will be prevented.
CALIFORNIA STATE BOARD OF HEALTH.
SACRAMENTO, NOVEMBER, 1905.
STATE BOARD OF HEALTH. MARTIN REGENSBURGER, M.D., President,
F. K. AINSWORTH, M.D.
San Francisco San Francisco A, C, HART, M.D.
Sacramento WALLACE A. BRIGGS, M.D., Vice-President,
0. STANSBURY, M.D...
STATE BUREAU OF VITAL STATISTICS.
...... Sacramento STATE HYGIENIC LABORATORY. ARCHIBALD R. WARD, D.V.M., Director..
University of California, Berkeley
NOTICE TO REGISTRARS.
New Numbers for Certificates. The attention of Local Registrars is drawn to the requirement of the registration law that new series of numbers be started for the certificates
of births, marriages, and deaths filed with them each calendar year. The Local Registrar, after transmitting to the State Registrar the certificates for December, 1905, should put the number 1 on the first certificate of death filed with him in January, 1906. The same rule of course applies to certificates of births and marriages. Since the certificates are indexed separately and systematically in the State Bureau of Vital Statistics, it is immaterial if an occasional birth, marriage, or death taking place late in 1905 is numbered by the Local Registrar in the new series for 1906.
VITAL STATISTICS FOR NOVEMBER.
Summary.-For November, vital statistics were reported from fiftytwo counties with a population estimated conservatively at 1,663,995. There were 1,699 living births, 2,153 deaths exclusive of stillbirths not tabulated, and 1,243 marriages, or 2,486 persons married. These figures represent an annual birth-rate of 12.4, a death-rate of 15.7, and a marriage rate of 9.1, or 18.2 persons married, per 1,000 population.
The leading specific cause of death, as usual, was tuberculosis, followed by heart disease and pneumonia. Tuberculosis is especially prevalent in Southern California (Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Orange, Riverside, and San Diego counties), where 32.9 per cent of the deaths from this disease occurred against only 24.2 per cent of the total deaths. However, 19.5 per cent of those who died of tuberculosis in Southern California had lived in the State less than a year and altogether 53.7 per cent had lived here less than 10 years, as compared with only 3.2 and 17.7 per cent, respectively, for Northern California. North of Tehachapi the great bulk of the victims of this disease were native Californians or old inhabitants, while in the south a majority were comparatively recent residents of the Golden State.